This Day In History

1918 Battle of the Selle. In a carefully-planned attack, rehearsed over 5 days, 5th East Lancashires mount a remarkably successful night assault near Briastre. They move off at 2 a.m., in a heavy downpour which lasted throughout the engagement, to the sound of the Regimental March being played by the battalion band. Met by heavy machine-gun fire and an artillery barrage which causes 50 casualties, they charge through with a yell and are on their final objective well before the 7 a.m. deadline set, taking 300 prisoners in the process. Casualties are 2 officers and 13 men dead, and 6 officers and 109 men wounded. Some 22 German dead were counted on the battalion front. Study of the ground the next day shows that the battalion had gone through no fewer than 6 defensive belts, including a very strongly-held railway embankment, before reaching its final objective. The 300 prisoners were ‘of far better physique and appearance’ than any of the enemy previously encountered, and turn out to be picked troops. They said that they were members of Kaiser Wilhelm’ bodyguard; that they had never before known defeat; and that they had been sent to hold the line at all costs.
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The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment was inaugurated at Connaught Barracks, Dover on the 25 March 1970 and only six weeks later the 1st Battalion was on active service in Northern Ireland. Further Operational tours in the Province followed in1971-72, 1972-73, 1975-76 (resident), 1977, 1980-81, 1987, 1990-92 and 1997-99 (resident), in the course of which eight soldiers killed were in action.

The Regiment’s contribution towards wining the Cold War comprised two BAOR tours by the 1st Battalion in the mechanized role, Osnabruck 1970-74 and Paderborn 1984-90, and the 4th(Volunteer) Battalion’s commitment to NATO. To set the Seal on this period following the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact the 1st Battalion had the honour of being the last British battalion in Berlin 1992-94.

Out of area operations took the 1st Battalion to Cyprus 1978-1980 and 1983, where they saw service with the United Nations, a Company to the Falklands in the aftermath of the 1982 war, and the Battalion went to Bosnia in1996 for the NATO operation.

Overseas exercise deployment were frequent and for the 1st Battalion included training in Canada, the Gambia, Belize, Kenya and the Oman. In 1983 and again in 1995 the Battalion had the honour of providing the Royal Guard in London.

In 2006, the inexorable process of contraction of Britain’s armed forces saw The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment amalgamate with the Kings Own Royal Border and Kings Regiments to form the new Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, which inherits the proud traditions of all the old county regiments of the North West of England.

Chapter 18 | Chapter 20